By Matt Youngfrau
MONTICELLO September 23, 2003 Since the beginning of the year, a group of Monticello residents has been collecting signatures on a petition opposing the proposed expansion and importation of trash at the Sullivan County Landfill.
In those months, they collected more than 5,200 signatures. The group finally turned in its petitions to the Legislature at its monthly meeting on Thursday, September 18.
It is with great regret that we have to submit all these signatures, commented one of the petition organizers, Ken Heins. Trash for cash is not the way to balance the budget. Dont ignore our cries for help.
We have collected more than 5,200 signatures, and there will be more to come, remarked one of the founders of the Special Protection of the Environment for the County of Sullivan (SPECS), Marie Ng. We have signatures from people from every village and hamlet throughout the county. Your policies are wrong. You do not belong in the garbage business. It is too big and too smelly. It is a quality-of-life issue.
You need to stop importation and keep taxes down, Ng continued. We are serious, and you dont care. You need to step in and help us. There are other ways to come up with money. This has got to stop.
There are health problems caused by landfills, noted SPECS Co-Chair Janet Newberg. Many people in the county have no idea what goes into the landfill. It could be medical waste. What are the limits? It seems to be [that] anything goes. There should be no dumping on Sullivan County. We have to change that image. We deserve it.
Once the public comment period was over, Legislature Chair Leni Binder responded.
We do not disagree with you, Binder said. We thank you for your comments, and we do take them seriously. We do discuss this issue, and we are looking for alternatives. Your comments are not in vain.